Professor Khalida Adeeb Khanum Akhtar, a leading Gynecologist and Obstetrician, an outstanding teacher, prolific writer, researcher, mentor, artist and above all an exceptional human being passed away on 16th Oct 2015. The cause of death was pneumonia leading to multi organ failure. She was born at Rawalpindi on 28th Feb 1935.
Prof Khalida got her basic education at the Presentation Convent High School Rawalpindi and Sacred Heart Convent Lahore. She achieved outstanding performances in education at both the institutions and also made a mark in extra-curricular activities.
In her formative years she developed keen interest in art like sketching, drawing, painting, embroidery, designing, sewing and decor which continued throughout her life. Many pieces of art adorn the rooms of her home and her artistic abilities are visible in the architecture of her house. In her professional life her drawings and surgical skills testified the fact that medicine is an art based on sciences. In 1957 she topped the final MBBS examination of the Punjab University, Lahore winning a tally of medals.
Khalida got married to me on 28th Oct 1960 while I was working as a graded medical specialist and Staff surgeon at the Military Hospital Rawalpindi. We had a 55 year life partnership. After our marriage in 1961, the Royal College of Surgeons England held FRCS part 1 examination at Lahore which she passed in first attempt.
Prof Khalida A.K. Akhtar proceeded to UK in 1969 for higher qualifications and earned FRCS (Edin) and MRCOG London during her 15 months stay in UK. She earned respect of her seniors, colleagues and patients and was offered the job of consultant.
She joined me at Rawalpindi in 1970, got appointment as Chief of Dept. of Obstetrics and Chief of Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology at of the Holy Family Hospital (HFH), a major Obs/Gynae facility at Rawalpindi-Islamabad then. She worked very hard and upgraded the Obs/Gynae department working with missionary zeal. In those days twin cities had a few gynecologists. She set up private medical practice on the pattern of the UK consultants; would book only five private patients by referrals, distribute other cases to her subordinates providing guidance or send back minor cases to the practitioners with her advice. She would spend about forty minutes for one consultation, take notes, keep records and explain to the patients by amaking drawings. Once she refused to take fee for the additional patient, her principle being not to charge a patient where she was unable to provide help. She kept special days for poor patients; she also helped her needy patients financially.
She had deep passion for teaching and regularly held Obs/Gynae meetings. Just before her death she chaired Obs/Gynae conference of Rwp/Isb chapter of Obs/Gynae society at the Armed Forces Post Graduate Institute auditorium.
She was awarded honorary rank of Colonel for teaching and providing consultation work to CMH/MH Obs/Gynae Dept. In 1976 she got the obs/gynae dept of Holy Family Hospital recognized for the FCPS qualification, long before Rawalpindi Medical College came into being. In 1989 she was instrumental in gifting Holy Family Hospital over to Rawalpindi Medical College and was appointed professor. She prepared the Obs/Cynae department for full teaching services. In 1985, she established the first authentic Colonoscopy Center at HFH, Rawalpindi.
She always had keen interest in medical editing, was the chief editor of the Rawalpindi Medical College journal (RMC journal) for sixteen years. Editor in chief of Shifa, RMC students’ magazine and editor of various periodicals. She published the journal of Pak Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists in 1985 which is being published to date.
She has been regularly writing for the journals of Rawalpindi Medical College, Islamic International Medical College. She published first scientific journal of Islamic International Medical College.
In 1998 she was invited to be Prof head of Obs/Gynae dept of Islamic International Medical College which she founded from where she retired in 2005. In 2008 she received “Life Achievement Award” from Airways Media for her contribution to the society as an exemplary doctor and an inspiring teacher and mentor.
After retirement she continued her academic activities, teaching, writing etcetera. She taught postgraduate students (FCPS etc) at her residence voluntarily, holding sessions at the basement of her residence, attended by a large number of civilian and Army Gynecologists.
She was scientific to her subject, humane to her patients with rich moral fiber and endless courage. She had uncompromising principles and convictions, meritocracy was her trade mark.
We built our house at Race Course Road Rawalpindi and she did everything in its completion. She looked after all my needs sparing me completely for my professional work.
She had humility and deep empathy. She treated her patients as VVIPs. She was affectionately called “Appa Khalida” during her student days. She had her share of misogynistic/political victimization in a patriarchal society which she endured patiently and courageously.
She was a woman of substance and dealt with two major tragedies in her life with a lot of patience and became a back bone for the rest of the family. She had a beautiful soul which lit everyone around her. She always exuded positive energy no matter what were the circumstances. She was a role model, a living legend and will continue to enlighten lives of people even after leaving this world for her heavenly abode. may her soul rest ineternal peace amen forever in my heart,
prayers and thoughts.